The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - RADIO WEEK -

When I took over from Larry King at CNN, I did my ut­most to show him the re­spect his ex­tra­or­di­nary ca­reer war­ranted. ‘I feel like the guy who fol­lowed Si­na­tra at The Sands – it’s a supreme hon­our just to tread in such a leg­end’s shadow,’ I re­peat­edly cooed, pub­licly and pri­vately.

Larry, now 80, re­sponded fairly soon into my ten­ure by say­ing watch­ing my show was like watch­ing his mother-in-law driv­ing his Bent­ley over a cliff. He didn’t spec­ify which mother-in-law, which may be be­cause he’s had eight of them so prob­a­bly can’t re­mem­ber all their names.

But the point was made – Larry hated this younger Bri­tish up­start re­plac­ing him. For the next three years he kept up a sus­tained bar­rage of bitchy pub­lic digs at my ex­pense. His main com­plaint was that I talked too much, which seemed pretty rich com­ing from a guy who’s earned a liv­ing for 60 years talk­ing the hind legs off the prover­bial don­key.

He also dis­liked my ego. ‘ Piers makes it all about him,’ he sneered. I don’t con­test the cen­tral al­le­ga­tion, but point out by way of mit­i­ga­tion that at least I didn’t le­gally change my name by deed poll to ‘King’ to boost my ca­reer prospects – as the artist for­mally known as Larry Zeiger did.

I as­sumed he’d pack it in af­ter my show ended in March. But no, Larry was at it again to­day, brand­ing me a ‘pompous Bri­tisher’ and mock­ing my sup­posed rat­ings fail­ure. It was time to re­spond. ‘Memo to Larry King,’ I tweeted. ‘Get over it you daft old goat, you wrecked CNN’s 9pm rat­ings, not me.’

Which is true, since his last few years saw his view­er­ship col­lapse faster than Brazil’s ‘de­fence’ in the World Cup. I kept the rat­ings pretty much where he left them, not a glo­ri­ous achieve­ment ad­mit­tedly, but not bad ei­ther. I added that King had been a ‘grace­less, petty lit­tle man’.

He didn’t re­spond, but his eighth wife Shawna did. ‘I’m tired of your name­call­ing of my hus­band,’ she de­clared. ‘Ur al­ways try­ing to pick a fight.’

‘Memo to Larry King,’ I tweeted. ‘Get over it you daft old goat’

This lu­di­crously delu­sional state­ment is about as con­vinc­ing as Larry recit­ing his wed­ding vows. Madonna’s new toy­boy is a 26-yearold ‘ac­tor’ called Ti­mor St­ef­fens.

She was seen parad­ing him on a boat in the South of France to­day with her chil­dren Lour­des, 17, and Rocco, 13. If you add the ages of all three of them to­gether, it adds up to 56.

Madonna is 56. What would be your last meal on Earth? Mine would be freshly grilled gi­ant prawns, spaghetti Bolog­nese ( cooked by my mother), sticky tof­fee pud­ding and cus­tard, and a gi­ant slab of stink­ing Epoisses cheese. All washed down with Puligny Mon­tra­chet, Chateau La­tour ’61 and a good 18-year-old malt whisky.

He­ston Blu­men­thal – renowned as one of the great sci­en­tists of the culi­nary world, pre­par­ing feasts of stag­ger­ing com­plex­ity – has a sim­pler an­swer. ‘Roast chicken and pota­toes, with my kids,’ he told me at a wed­ding party for mu­tual friends.

He’s r ight . Meals, how­ever fab­u­lous, are re­ally only ever as good as the peo­ple you eat them with. Ricky Ger­vais is an ab­surdly tal­ented comic ge­nius with a pen­chant for danger­ous mis­chief that makes Dick Das­tardly look lame. To­day, I chanced upon an in­ter­view he gave to US entertainment web­site The Wrap, where he re­vealed plans for a new movie star­ring David Brent, his ap­pallingly funny cre­ation from The Of­fice.

Called Life On The Road, it sees Brent em­bark­ing on an at­tempt to be a pop star.

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